|© UNICEF Denmark/2008|
|During the youth forum in Copenhagen this week, students made presentations illustrating climate change.|
By Mette Maj Brochorst
COPENHAGEN, Denmark, 8 October 2008 – Students at a special school in Copenhagen convened to make themselves heard in the global climate debate earlier this week, as UNICEF Denmark and the municipality of Copenhagen hosted a preview of the Children’s Climate Forum Copenhagen 2009 (CCFC 09), which will be held in November of next year.
The event, held at a public school in Copenhagen, offered an advance look at CCFC09 to the Danish and international media.
Speakers included the Mayor of Children and Youth Administration, Bo Asmus Kjeldgaard, and UNICEF Denmark Executive Director Steen M. Andersen, as well as two young people from UNICEF Denmark's Child Expert Panel. Also on hand were UNICEF's Chief of Adolescent Development and Participation, Victor Karunan, and Terra Weikel from the Youth Section in UNICEF’s Division of Communication.
The children who participated in the event were between the age of 14 and 17. In the school courtyard, these students delivered presentations illustrating climate change. The participants contributed their perspectives on the issue and shared experiences showing how climate affects their lives.
"Children are inheriting the climate problems, and that is why it is only natural that they have a say in the matter," said Mr. Andersen. "So far, we have experienced a decrease in the child mortality rate, but the progress we have made is at risk of being jeopardized by the climate changes. That is why UNICEF Denmark wants to enter far more actively in the battle on climate change."
CCFC 09 is being held in the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15), which will be held in December 2009. Children from around the world will be involved in the event, all of whom will have had previous experience working with climate and democracy in their home countries. The children will take part in digital communities and online learning scenarios prior to the event.
Mr. Karunan shared his expertise involving children in political processes and decisions. "Children alone cannot address the major global problems," he said. "They need the support of governments, parliamentarians, policy-makers, NGOs and civil society. Therefore, we need to make the voices of young people heard and taken into account in decisions that affect their lives today and shape their world tomorrow."